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Superman Returns


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Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
Superman Returns (Movies)
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Information about Superman Returns

Superman Returns is a 2006 (13 years ago) superhero movie based on the DC Comics character Superman. Directed by Bryan Singer, the movie stars Brandon Routh as Superman, as well as Kate Bosworth (17 walls), Kevin Spacey, James Marsden and Parker Posey. Superman Returns is a loose continuation of Superman (1978, 41 years ago) and Superman II (1980, 39 years ago). The movie tells the story of Superman returning to Earth after several years of absence. He finds that Lois Lane has moved on with her life and that Lex Luthor is plotting a scheme that will destroy the United States.

After a series of unsuccessful projects to resurrect Superman on the screen, Warner Bros. hired Bryan Singer to direct and develop Superman Returns in Jul. 2004 (15 years ago). The majority of principal photography took place at Fox Studios Australia, Sydney, while the visual effects sequences were created by Sony pictures (wallpaper) Imageworks; filming ended in Nov. 2005 (14 years ago). Superman Returns was released with positive reviews, and grossed $391 million in worldwide box office totals. However, Warner Bros. was somewhat disappointed with the box office return and are now considering a future reboot of the Superman franchise.


Superman (Brandon Routh) had been missing for several years, having traveled to where astronomers believed they had discovered the remains of Krypton. During his absence, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) was released from prison and married a rich widow to obtain her fortune upon her death. Superman Returns to Earth, having failed in his hopes to find surviving Kryptonians, and, as Clark Kent, resumes his job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, and learns that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth (17 walls)) has won the Pulitzer Prize for her article “Why the World Doesn't Need Superman”. Meanwhile, Luthor travels to the Fortress of Solitude and steals Kryptonian crystals. During an experiment with the crystals, Lex causes a power outage on the east coast. The power loss interferes with the flight test of a Space Shuttle (8 walls) attached to a Boeing 777, occupied by Lois Lane who is covering the story. Clark flies into action as Superman and stops the plane from crashing onto a baseball stadium, which is full of spectators.

The world rejoices at Superman's return, but Lois is more concerned with the blackout. Lois Lane later meets her fiance Richard White (James Marsden), nephew of Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White (Frank Langella), and their son, Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu). Clark is emotionally hurt when he overhears a conversation between Lois and Richard in which she says she never loved Superman. He then stops a bank heist, and saves Kitty Kowalski (Parker Posey), Luthor's co-conspirator. With Superman distracted, Luthor steals Kryptonite from the Metropolis Museum of Natural History. Perry assigns Lois to interview Superman while Clark investigates the blackout. That night, Superman arrives at the Daily Planet and takes Lois for a flight, during which he apologizes for leaving her and says "You said the world doesn't need a savior, but everyday, I hear people crying for one."

Lois focuses her attention on the blackout again and ascertains its origin. Lois and Jason inadvertently board Luthor's ship and are captured. Luthor reveals to them his grand scheme of using one of the stolen Kryptonian crystals to grow a new continental landmass in the Northern Atlantic Ocean that will destroy the United States, in the process killing billions of people and leaving him as the new landmass' owner. Seeing the effect of a Kryptonite sample on Jason, Luthor asks who Jason's father really is; after Lois asserts that the father is Richard, Luthor leaves to launch the crystal, which he has encased in green Kryptonite, into the sea. Under water, the crystal begins to create Luthor's new landmass. Lois faxes their co-ordinates to The Daily Planet and is attacked by a henchman. The henchman is crushed to death by a piano, which Jason shoves at him. Afterward, Lois and Jason are imprisoned in a kitchen galley. Luthor flies in his helicopter to the still forming continent. Meanwhile, Superman is attempting to minimize the destruction in Metropolis caused by the new landmass' growth when Richard arrives in a sea plane to rescue Lois and Jason. Superman soon arrives to help and then flies off to find Luthor.

Meeting Luthor, Superman discovers the landmass is filled with Kryptonite, which weakens him to the point that Luthor and his henchmen are able to beat him. Superman is stabbed by Luthor with a shard of Kryptonite and falls into the ocean. Lois makes Richard turn back to rescue Superman, whereupon she removes the Kryptonite from his back. Superman, after regaining his strength from the sun, lifts the landmass after putting layers of earth between him and the Kryptonite. Luthor and Kitty escape in their helicopter; Kitty, unwilling to let billions of people die, tosses away the crystals that Lex stole from the Fortress of Solitude. She and Luthor are stranded on a desert island when their helicopter runs out of fuel. Superman pushes the landmass into space, but is weakened by the Kryptonite and crashes back to Earth. Doctors remove more Kryptonite from Superman's wound, but after it is removed they cannot penetrate his skin with their surgical tools. While Superman remains in a coma, Lois and Jason visit him at the hospital where Lois whispers a secret into Superman's ear and then kisses him. Superman later awakens and flies to visit Jason, reciting Jor-El's last speech to Jason as he sleeps. Lois starts writing another article, titled “Why the World Needs Superman”. Superman reassures her that he is now back to stay, and flies off to low orbit, where he gazes down at the world once again.


  • Brandon Routh as Clark Kent / Superman: Stephan Bender portrays teenage Clark Kent in a flashback scene. James Caviezel expressed interest in the role. However, Singer believed only an unknown actor would be suitable for the part. Routh was chosen from thousands of candidates interviewed at casting calls in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia. He had coincidentally auditioned for Clark Kent in the TV series Smallville, but lost to Tom Welling. Routh had also met director Joseph "McG" Nichol for the role during pre-production of Superman: Flyby. Dana Reeve, wife of Christopher Reeve, believed Routh's physical resemblance to her late husband was striking. To obtain the muscular physique to convincingly play Superman, Routh underwent a strict bodybuilding exercise regimen.
  • Kate Bosworth (17 walls) as Lois Lane: Spacey recommended Singer to cast Bosworth in the role because she co-starred with Spacey in Beyond the Sea (2004, 15 years ago) as Sandra Dee. Claire Danes and Keri Russell were reported to be considered for the role. For inspiration on her performance, Bosworth studied Katharine Hepburn's acting, particularly in The Philadelphia Story (1940, 79 years ago) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967, 52 years ago), as well as Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich (2000, 19 years ago).
  • Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor: Because of his Academy Award-winning performance in Singer's movie The Usual Suspects (1995, 24 years ago), and friendship with the director, Spacey was the only actor considered for Luthor. The writers specifically had Spacey in mind for the part when writing the script.
  • James Marsden as Richard White: The nephew of the Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White and fiancé to Lois Lane.
  • Tristan Lake Leabu as Jason: Son of Lois Lane. Jason's paternity is unclear at first (White or Superman), but as the movie continues it is revealed that he is the son of Superman, due to his display of superhuman strength and discomfort around Kryptonite, amongst other things.
  • Parker Posey as Kitty Kowalski: The character is based on Eve Teschmacher from the 1978 (41 years ago) film, portrayed by Valerie Perrine. Posey was the only actress considered for the role.
  • Frank Langella as Perry White: Hugh Laurie was cast in the role but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with House.
  • Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen: A young photographer at the Daily Planet. Jimmy is friends with Clark Kent, and also struggles to take a pleasing photograph of Superman for Perry White.
  • Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent: The adoptive mother of Clark Kent / Superman. She was emotionally broken by her son's five year absence.


Warner Bros. considered shooting Superman Returns at Warner roadshow studios in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. After filming, this could have been used as an attraction for the adjoining Warner Bros. Movie World theme park, but the idea was scrapped for being too expensive. Set construction started in Jan. 2005 (14 years ago) at Fox Studios Australia for the film's 60 setpieces, while the start date was pushed back for two weeks. In an attempt to avoid public attention, Superman Returns carried the fake working title of Red Sun during filming. Starting in late Mar. 2005 (14 years ago), principal photography lasted until November. Filming of Superman Returns in New South Wales constituted hiring thousands of local workers, generating over $100 million into the local economy. 80% of filming took place at Fox Studios Australia, occupying all nine sound stages. Scenes set in Smallville were shot at Tamworth, while the Australian Museum doubled for the Metropolis Museum of Natural History.

Design and effects

A digital recreation of Marlon Brando in the film, as Jor-El.Superman Returns was shot using Panavision's Genesis digital camera. Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Headquarters for the design of the Daily Planet. ESC Entertainment was originally set to design the visual effects sequences, but Warner Bros. replaced them with the hiring Mark Stetson from Sony pictures (wallpaper) Imageworks as the visual effects supervisor. A total of 1,400 visual effects shots were created. The script required a scene of Superman safely delivering a Boeing 777 in a baseball park. This would have been impossible to assemble the number of extras, thus computer-generated imagery was used. A second unit crew traveled to Dodger Stadium to photograph elements that were composited into the final images. Using footage from the original Superman (1978, 41 years ago) movie as a reference point, Marlon Brando was re-created by Rhythm & Hues using computer-generated imagery. The opening credits for Superman Returns are presented in a deliberate recreation of the style used for Superman, again to the accompaniment of John Williams' theme music.


Singer hired regular collaborator John Ottman as editor and movie score composer months before the script was written. Ottman said in past interviews that John Williams, who composed the 1978 (41 years ago) film, had influenced his decision to become a musician. He was both cautious and enthusiastic to work on Superman Returns. "Bryan [Singer] said he wouldn't even greenlight the movie if he couldn't use the John Williams music." Ottman continued, "it was important for me to preserve the Williams theme right down to every single note for the opening titles." Ottman referred to his work on Superman Returns as a homage to, not a ripoff of, Williams.


Entertainment Weekly first reported that the budget for Superman Returns was at $204 million. Adding in the financial services and pay or play contracts spent since the film's development from the early 1990s, the budget came to $263 million. Entertainment Weekly then claimed that with worldwide marketing costs, the final budget would come to $350 million. This would have made Superman Returns the most expensive movie ever made at the time of its release. Singer later denied this report. In Feb. 2006 (13 years ago), Warner Bros. had put the budget at $184 million, "factoring in tax breaks offered in Australia". In a Jul. 2006 (13 years ago) interview with Newsweek, Singer quoted the final budget as $204 million. The following October, Warner Bros. placed the cost at $209 million, after factoring in tax rebates and incentives.


Director and producer Bryan Singer conceived the storyline of "Superman returning to Earth after a five year absence" during the filming of X-Men 2 (2003, 16 years ago). He presented the idea to Lauren Shuler Donner and her husband Richard Donner, director of Superman (1978, 41 years ago). Donner greeted Singer's idea with positive feedback. In Mar. 2004 (15 years ago), Warner Bros. was commencing pre-production on Superman: Flyby. McG was signed to direct with a script by J. J. Abrams. A target Jun. 2006 (13 years ago) theatrical release date was put in motion. However, McG dropped out in Jun. 2004 (15 years ago). Warner Bros. was aware of Singer's interest in making a Superman film. As Singer was preparing to leave for Hawaii on a short vacation with his writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris the same month of McG's departure, Warner Bros. asked him to pitch his idea for Superman Returns. While in Hawaii, Singer, Dougherty and Harris began to outline the movie treatment. In Jul. 2004 (15 years ago), Singer signed on to direct and develop Superman Returns.

Although he was not a comic book fan, Singer was most impressed with Donner's 1978 (41 years ago) film, citing it as an influence of his, Dougherty's and Harris's writing. Superman Returns reboots the Superman movie series, but is also a continuation of Superman (1978, 41 years ago) and Superman II (1980, 39 years ago). With Singer's hiring, he dropped out of X-Men: The Last Stand (22 walls) (2006, 13 years ago) and also had the Logan's Run remake pushed back. Superman Returns was financed 50/50 between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, and pre-production began in Nov. 2004 (15 years ago). By Feb. 2005 (14 years ago), Dougherty and Harris had written six drafts of the script. Early versions of the script contained references to the sep. 11 attacks before they were removed.


Based on 249 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of the reviewers enjoyed the film, while the 40 critics in its "Top Critics" group gave a 74% approval rating. By comparison, Metacritic received an average score of 72/100, based on 40 reviews. Richard Corliss of Time praised Superman Returns, calling it one of the best superhero films. He was mostly impressed with Singer's direction and the storyline. Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal also gave a positive review, but observed Routh's and Bosworth's acting was "somewhat dead or super average. Nothing special." Morgenstern believed Lex Luthor's characterization was "well written by the writers and well played by Kevin Spacey". He also praised Newton Thomas Sigel's cinematography and Guy Hendrix Dyas's production design.

Peter Travers, writing in Rolling Stone, felt the movie "perfectly updates Superman for the modern audience". J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called it "surprisingly well made. It's a summer blockbuster filled with mythology and sensitivity." James Berardinelli reacted positively to Singer's decision of setting the continuity after Superman II, and ignoring the critically-panned Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. He observed it was on par with Richard Donner's 1978 (41 years ago) film, and felt Spacey was better than Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. "Spacey is sinister and villainous, while Hackman was campy and yesterday's news. As for the rest of the cast, everyone is spot on. There was no miscasting." Berardinelli said. "Superman Returns is near the top, if not at the top of the superhero movie pile. It offers nearly everything: romance, action, humor, and plenty of goose bumps."

However, Roger Ebert argued the movie was a "glum, lackluster movie in which even the big effects sequences seem dutiful instead of exhilarating. Brandon Routh lacks charisma as Superman, and was probably cast in the role because he only physically resembles Christopher Reeve. Proof of this is the fact that Routh hardly speaks when donning the costume." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle felt that Warner Bros. should have rebooted the series along the lines of Batman Begins. He also felt Bosworth, at 22-years-old, was too young to portray Lois Lane, and the climax did not "match the potential of the tiring 154 minute long film".

Superman Returns was nominated for both the Academy Award for Visual Effects and BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects, but lost the nominations to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (10 walls). The movie was successful at the 33rd Saturn Awards, winning Best Fantasy Film, and categories for Direction (Bryan Singer), Best Actor (Brandon Routh), Writing (Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris) and Music (John Ottman). Kate Bosworth (17 walls), Tristan Lake Leabu, James Marsden, Parker Posey, and the visual effects department were nominated for categories. However, Bosworth was also nominated a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress. Superman Returns also appeared on Empire magazine's 2008 (11 years ago) list of the 500 greatest movies of all time where it peaked at number 496.


  1. Main Titles (3:49)
  2. Memories (3:07)
  3. Rough Flight (5:13)
  4. Little Secrets/Power of the Sun (2:49)
  5. Bank Job (2:21)
  6. How Could You Leave Us? (5:49)
  7. Tell Me Everything (3:13)
  8. You're Not One of Them (2:22)
  9. Not Like the Train Set (5:12)
  10. So Long Superman (5:31)
  11. The People You Care For (3:27)
  12. I Wanted You to Know (2:56)
  13. Saving the World (3:12)
  14. In the Hands of Mortals (2:11)
  15. Reprise/Fly Away (4:15)


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